The Chairman, Nigeria’s Senate Committee on Gas, Senator Bassey Akpan, has advocated special amnesty for owners of Nigeria’s stolen money, starched in the various banks all over the World in order to generate enough foreign exchange to drive the nation’s economy.
Senator Akpan stated this in his office on Monday while addressing journalists on some crucial national issues.
According to him, “The time has come when we have to think outside the box and my own position is this, it is possible that the government can declare amnesty on stolen money. Let every Nigerian that has taken money out of this country be given amnesty to bring back the money and invest in the country.
He said Nigerians have hundreds of billions of dollars starched outside the country in the international banks which are being used to drive other economy.
Senator Bassey stated that other countries are enjoying the money while Nigerians are suffering in Nigeria.
“ When owners of Nigeria’s stolen foreign currencies bring them back to the country as a result of the amnesty, a lot of foreign exchange can be generated to fund our local consumption and we can set target. They should bring 70 percent of the money and invest in Nigeria’s economy, why are we suffering in the midst of plenty? Amnesty was created for militancy; create amnesty for anybody that has taken money outside this country so that they can invest them in the country. We can generate a hundred billion dollar in the process in less than six months.”
We need enough forex to fund our importation, rebuild our industries, establish capacity locally and import raw materials for industries before talking of exporting finished products. Where we are as a country now, we should begin to look inward. One thing is to fight corruption another thing is to let your battle as a fighter of corruption yields the appropriate results. Our economy based on the statistics available to us has gone into full blown recession. There is reduction in revenue collection based on the basis of oil export because of the dwindling global oil crisis.”
“The cost of producing a barrel of crude in Nigeria is about $35 per barrel and it is being sold for $48. That means that as a country we earn less than $13 per barrel. Countries like Saudi Arabia, and Iran and other co-OPEC countries had fallen back on their quantity to meet up their demands but in Nigeria, where we are losing 800 barrels of oil per day when we are also supposed to be boosting our production.
“We are expected to use income from oil to develop other sector of the economy. That is why I believe very strongly that, since some countries had also done it in the past, Nigeria also need to grant amnesty to those who are in possession of our money that we need to develop. It has happened before in Indonesia, declare amnesty. Tell every Nigerian that has money in their foreign accounts, whether through corruption or through any other means, to bring the money within the next six months,” he submitted.
Senator Akpan who was elected under the platform of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), also highlighted how his new agenda can facilitate a sharp balance in the exchange rate of Naira against the Dollar.
“The influx of this foreign exchange will crash the value of dollars in Nigeria, it will also create a demand on the part of CBN to fund demands on the importation of raw materials to boost our industries. We can’t diversify the economy without making dollars available to drive the process. It got nothing to do with whether I support corruption or not. But it got a whole lot to do with meeting the collective needs of Nigerians.”
On the issue of renewed militancy in the Niger Delta, he said, “I am of the opinion that it is better to jaw than to war. We must first of all understand the sentiments, the reasons for the renewed agitation by our youths in the Niger Delta and I must commend the efforts of the late President Umaru Yar’Adua, who actually initiated the amnesty programme in that region.
“One fundamental aspect we must look at is, how are we managing the amnesty programme? If there is any need for us to rejig machinery of managing the amnesty, government should not hesitate to do so. We must first appreciate the concerns of the Niger Delta people, why the renewed agitation? As a senator representing my people in the area, I think it is my responsibility and those of my colleagues from the region to re-engineer, and understand what caused the renewed agitation, so that we would be able to proffer appropriate solution.”